‘Super lice’ leaves parents and children scratching their heads

A species of lice resistant to over-the-counter treatment has showed up in Indiana. (WLFI Photo)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — They’re creepy, crawly and they don’t discriminate.

“A nice, clean head of hair can be fair game for head lice,” said Lafayette School Corporation nursing coordinator Sue Bergstrom.

A new species of head lice resistant to over-the-counter treatment is creeping across the United States, affecting 25 states including Indiana.

St. Francis Physician Network pediatrician Timothy Snyder said overtreating the pests has led to the super lice.

“Most of the time these ‘super lice’ or super bugs develop because of excessive treatment or over treatment,” said Snyder. “So I would be pretty sure that your child actually does have head lice before treating them.”

Bergstrom said LSC only checks for the bugs in classrooms with children already affected.

While no super lice have been reported in the corporation, she said it never hurts for parents to be vigilant.

“Get them under a good light, and see if you see any little white eggs or evidence that they have an issue going on with head lice,” said Bergstrom. “Then you can call your school nurse and have them check them too.”

If a child comes home with head lice, Bergstrom recommends parents begin with traditional treatments like shampoos. This also includes frequent vacuuming and washing of bedding and other fabrics.

Parents can also be proactive by educating their children on how lice are passed.

“Combs, brushes, barrettes, headbands, that kind of thing because that could pass it on a lot easier,” said Bergstrom.

If traditional methods still leave your child scratching, Snyder said there’s no shame in asking a doctor for help.

“Sometimes it’s treated like the plague,” said Snyder. “I think it’s just one of those things that makes people very uncomfortable to think about.”

For more on head lice treatment and prevention, click here.

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